Five years ago, the Rawlins Outlaw basketball team was coming off a 7-win season. Much of that changed when Denver Allard was hired as the new Outlaw basketball coach.
Although the 2008 Outlaw team only notched three wins for Allard, the skepticism was quickly washed away. The following season, Allard took his team to the unfamiliar scene of the State Tournament. The Outlaws recorded 20 wins that season and won the conference championship, which was the first to come to Rawlins in nine years.
Denver Allard (from his Facebook page)
“My goal was to turn the program around, and establish a program that Rawlins could be proud of”, said Allard. A case can be made that he has certainly done that. Since his first and only losing season in Rawlins, Coach Allard has recorded 71 wins and only 37 losses.
“I was wondering how things would work after the first year”, said Allard. Although it seems as if the win-loss record certainly dismissed his concerns, Allard was very quick to give all the credit to the kids.
Where it all started
Allard arrived in Rawlins after a few coaching stints in South Dakota and Hanna, Wyoming. He not only came with coaching experience, but also with experience playing basketball at the college level. Allard played basketball both at UNV Williston and NSU Bottineau, according to Allard.
After coaching middle school basketball in Rawlins for two years, Allard took over the head-coaching job from Linzie Green. Green was a coach that did very well with the talent he had, and was someone that was very respected, said Allard.
Allard impressed many as soon as he stepped onto the scene. According to Rawlins Athletic Director Darlene O’Melia, Allard was impressive, knowledgeable, professional, and very organized. “You could tell that he really loved the game of basketball”, said O’Melia.
The aura of impressiveness seems to have spread to the players on the court as well. Alex Collier, a senior basketball player, said, “Overall, I would say that Coach Allard is a wonderful coach all around.”
Optimism in the air
Not only does Allard have a great track record in the past, there is a feeling of optimism floating around about the upcoming season. In a few words, Allard summed up how he felt about the 2013 season. “It’s a very good time to be in the Outlaw Program”, said Allard.
The outlaws are coming off a season in which they won another conference title, and are returning two key players to the court this year. All-State guard, Jaylin Krening and All-Conference forward, Alex Collier are expected to be the leaders of the team this year, according to Allard. These two are tremendous basketball players, but they always put the team ahead of themselves, said Allard.
Photo Courtesy of Denver Allard
The Outlaws put in a lot of hard work this offseason, according to Allard and Collier. The team played about 35 games this summer, and the younger players got a lot of good playing time, said Allard.
Not only did the team play several games this summer, Collier thinks that they are better than ever. “This past summer we played the best basketball we ever have”, said Collier.
As for the future, it certainly looks like good things are ahead for the Outlaw Basketball program. At the end of the day, the program seems to be going wherever Allard takes it.
The one destination that is on the senior, Collier’s mind, is going to the State Championship. This could be the year for us to take the State Title, said Collier. The Outlaws have won the consolation game twice under Allard, but have never made an appearance in the State Championship game.
In coaching, the legacy that is left once the coach is gone is often what they are remembered by. However, Allard does not measure his success by the way people think of him.
Allard holds himself to a very high standard. “Whether it be teaching or coaching, I want to look myself in the mirror, and feel like I did my very best for the kids and the school”, said Allard.
Apparently, this attitude has rubbed off on his senior forward, Collier. The most important lesson that Allard has taught is to always work as hard as possible in everything that you do, said Collier.
As for Allard’s big secret to winning basketball games, it’s actually pretty simple. “The kids make the coach. I’ve been very blessed with the players I’ve been presented”, said Allard.